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Sandra Simonds
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Voyage to Cythera My heart is like a bird going on a sea voyage to find utter joy, the way a well-intentioned yet anemic adolescent pins a corsage through the paper nipple of his warped drawing of a young, freckled nude. And just like this, I, myself, radiate that sun-filled madness. So I must ask you, Felix, as we approach the island Cythera together on our funky canoe, why it is that if I feel so light and airy, Cythera is so dismal? As we paddle closer to the shore, the salt- encrusted crows, sonic warnings, caw and caw, and... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
In the middle of a pool of falcons, I am voluptuous but lame. And marbles. And more marbles on the table. I wear a rose dress perfumed with lament. In this room, I have hurt myself so I become dangerous and even the mourner’s bouquet cannot save my wolf head. I am a cadaver, but what do I do with it? I am dead labor, but what do I do with it? It’s like having blood but no prey. My visions are pale gold shadows over my eyes which make my head just ache and ache like some sort of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
For the last few years, I’ve shared and exchanged poems with a number of poets on the Post-Flarf listserv. What I love about the listserv is that I can send around poems that I think are atrocious. It’s a place where experimentation, writing bad poetry, posting “found” poems from the internet and writing highly “distasteful” poems is actively encouraged. I also like that the list isn’t about publishing poetry in magazines but rather sharing work with other poets in an open space. I asked poets who have been active on the list to talk to me about the aesthetics of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
How can iambic pentameter be anti democratic? super curiouso
Of course. Ron's contributions to poetry and thinking about poetry have been invaluable.
Interesting!I think that all of my examples argue that the sonnet does allow for a lot of variation. BUT then some people would argue that those sonnets are not sonnets--of course I think that those people tend to be reactionary conservatives so....
Want to make it clear that *I* don't think the sonnet is a fascist form. Rather, I think the idea of calling any form fascist is an interesting one and I hope that WCW did in fact say it, just because it's an interesting argument.
Thanks, Jilly.
hmmmm....maybe Diane is our key! Thank you.
but! I am sympathetic to Williams's statement (if he did in fact say it cause no one seems to know)since one of the ways to be new or "modern" is to break free from old forms, right? Pound would have never said this about the sonnet. Some of my twitter friends did dig up an interesting endorsement of the sonnet from Williams in regard to the poetry of Merrill Moore (who the hell is that?)...apparently a psychiatrist who wrote like 30 million sonnets.
A few years ago Cal Bedient and David Lau started publishing the incredible journal, Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion. I asked contributor, Joshua Clover, to say a few words about the journal and he told me the journal is one that “recognizes we are in a proto-revolutionary moment, not yet knowing what direction or character it will take, uncertain, anxious, but full of go-for-broke commitment. He went on to say that Lana Turner is not a journal “for those who wish to stand on the siding judiciously watching the trains rush by, discussing their character, imagining the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Yes, but why stop there? A 500,000 line poem could be turned into 35,784.83345 SONNETS. Why not turn all LONG poems into manageable 14 line nuggets of JOY?
Yeah some has got to know where the fascist thing came from. Help us. I love Berrigan's sonnets but left him out because he gets sooooo much time and space whenever the sonnet comes up. Also interesting is how Dickinson and Whitman basically had no use for the sonnet while their contemporaries wrote so many of them (a lot of horrible ones, I should add). Check out "The Baby Sorceress" for example!
I guess it would be worse if you had a 500 line poem and someone said that you should turn it into a sonnet.
I know but don't you think it's catchy phrase--"a fascist form"? I want to say it over and over!
I know what you mean, to some extent. I feel very nervous every time I push the "publish" button on here. I think it gets easier the more you do it though. Maybe? Also, trying not to obsess over the idea of failure. Like what you say doesn't need to be perfect? I think that this way of thinking takes practice. I definitely need to work on it. Thanks for your honesty.
Leslie, I agree that there's a time issue with women who are raising children. (baby is crying right now in fact. Do I finish writing this reply or do I respond here?) All of these little choices pile up on a daily basis. Adrienne Rich is so good on this subject. Criticism takes such a sustained effort in terms of time (at least for me) that it's much easier to just not do it. Poetry, I can write much more quickly.
Awesome poet too. Everyone, check out Lorraine's poetry too.
Thanks! Looking forward to reading with you in the fall.
A similar situation the National Poetry Foundation's conference in Maine that I attended four years ago. Great conference but I lamented the fact that the conversations were dominated by men. (Also, seemed that there were wayyyy more men than women). Hope that changed this year. I really want to attend the next one (4 years from now) partially to see if this dynamic has at all changed.
I also like to interact with my friends who share articles etc on Twitter. Sometimes the interaction includes the original author, but usually never does.
Picture: Steve McCaffery, the structure of the sonnet I. Is the Sonnet a Fascist Form? Somewhere, supposedly, William Carlos Williams calls the sonnet “a Fascist form.” Can someone tell me if this is true? I asked a number of poet friends, looked and looked, but couldn’t find the quote ANYWHERE. Even if he didn’t write it, the phrase has an irresistible ring to it and lots and lots of poets agree that writing in any form is like being told what to do by an authoritarian jerk. But…wait a second…I’ve read poems by Fascists and the poems don’t look anything... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Thank you, JSA Lowe. One of my professors, David Kirby, taught a class called the "unworkshop" which was really fun. We basically wrote ANYTHING that wasn't poetry (reviews, complied a personal anthology etc).
Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to the fact that more men are being published than women. Because my sense is that there’s also a lack of women writing about poetry, I wanted to explore this topic in more detail with a number of women critics I admire. The following is the lively roundtable I moderated over the last few months between Sina Queyras, Elisa Gabbert, Shanna Compton, Juliana Spahr, Vanessa Place and Danielle Pafunda. * Sandra Simonds: For years, much was made of the male-dominated blog comment fields. I’m thinking particularly of Ron Silliman’s blog. It seems... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2012 at The Best American Poetry